America’s Team Pt. 5 – Conservatives and the Tanking of America

Ben's Journal, History, Moderate Proposals, Politics

A Defense of Tanking

The sole reason why the Sixers have so much (negative) attention is due to our open willingness to lose as many games as possible. We “tank” our season in order to acquire a higher probability of earning the top draft picks for the upcoming season. We planned to build the team around these draft picks based on the hope that one or two of them will grow into full-fledged stars. We lost in order to win in the long-term.

A lot of people criticized it, but there were a bunch of locals who were willing to see what happened. After all, what’s the point of being a team that was only good enough to make it to the first round of the play-offs, only to then lose? Once or twice is fine. But each and every season??? Please! Being a perennial terrible-to-mediocre team is something that the city was used to, so we felt a refreshing jolt of energy from a shameless pursuit of decrepitude. This strategy had been done often, but never as intensely as we did… and we don’t know if it will work, but at least we were trying something different!

(NOTE: The Sixers’ tanking process is not “bad for basketball”. Kevin Durant on the Golden State Warriors is. It created an impossibly gifted basketball team that could only be countered by other teams hiring their own big guns. Thus the arms race began. It thereby created a huge gap between talented teams and bad teams. The Sixers’ “#tankmode” was a strategic long-term response to this short-term era of super teams.)

Is “tanking” an effective process? I’m not sure. After all, the Sixers haven’t won anything yet. They have three potential superstars but only one of them has played at all… and my Philly weariness and wariness is preventing me from making bold and confident claims. But it certainly seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The possible prosperity that the Sixers’ organization could have does shed light on the realistic potential for success of this strategy. While the rest of the competition is focused on winning short-term, long-term success based on strategic short-term losing changes the game. It’s all about attacking the loop-holes of the rules in order to get ahead. It is, therefore, possible to apply this strategy to other facets of life.

The Theory in Politics

So there’s no cute transitional sentence that I can think of to seamlessly segue into this next thought… so here we go:

Conservatives are tanking the government! 

I know, this sounds partisan as hell. But think about the LOGIC:

  1. Conservatives hate Federal control over the states
  2. If THE PEOPLE distrust the federal government, they will be motivated to wrestle power back to the states
  3. THE PEOPLE will distrust the Federal government if the Federal government fails
  4. The Federal government fails if it is either oppressive or incompetent

Therefore

  1. To reduce the power of the Federal government, Conservatives in power need to be either incompetent or oppressive in order to ensure that it fails

This is cynical, Orwellian, and downright UNREALISTIC, right? Well, we doubted the likelihood of a Donald Trump presidency…

Considering how the Conservatives have operated and evolved over the past two decades, it IS possible that a complete kamikaze-esque operation is their over-arching strategy.

The legacy of “Reaganism” and trickle-down economics combined with a festering frustration over Federal intervention – to combat segregation – has created a strong hatred and distrust of big government by many Conservatives. Their view is: the less government interference in the daily lives of the people, the better.

Whatever. I’m not here to debate that theory. (In some instances, this theory can be beneficial.) But there has been a growing level of incompetence and buffoonery emanating from the “right” that has me asking, “this can’t be real can it?” Humanity, after all, can’t be so inept and ignorant!

Well, consider the machinations of the Republican Party. Their foundation of supporters lies within two different economic populations:

  1. Poor whites who feel like the Left is using big government to destroy institutions and jobs that supported their livelihood, in the name of “progress”
  2. Rich people who want to maintain and increase their wealth by preventing government interference in both regulating the cut-throat – and, sometimes downright unethical – free market and in implementing equitable tax policy to them

The former is the face of the party. The latter is the power of the party. The flooding of money into elections – by the wealthy few – has made puppets of so many politicians. These spineless lemmings will do whatever they have to in order to ensure that they are re-elected. This means fighting to reduce the power of the Federal government.

You still might be rolling your eyes at my theory. Totally fine! But let’s play out this hypothetical situation since, if you’re reading this still, we’ve come so far!

Say you were trying to get the people to distrust the government. You have three routes, that I can think of, to help you achieve your goal: propaganda, obstruction, and incompetence. 

Propaganda

So I was a colonial printer in a different life… literally. I wrote often of the importance of the freedom of speech and the press. An advanced society is one that allows all voices to express opinions freely. Later, we would move on to create that. GREAT… but WHAT THE FOX is going on with present-day Conservative media?! Established as a response to the “unfair bias” of the “liberal media elite”, Conservative media outlets – specifically FOX News, talk-radio, and Breitbart – have distorted and manipulated facts and figures in order to ferment a distrust and disgust amongst the conservative population.

It is not news which they report. It is unapologetic and irresponsible bias. It is propaganda.

These conservative media outlets will lie. They will cheat. They will do whatever they need to in order to make liberals, Democrats, and the Federal Government appear to be evil. It is easy to lie and cheat when they’re an outsider shouting, “Conspiracy!”. If well-respected news outlets report on the propaganda that they push out, then they have proven that they are just “part of the liberal media conspiracy,” There is no respected institution with universal credibility that can call them out on their nonsense.

How do I know that it’s propaganda? Well, they made a huge deal about whether or not Santa Clause was white… They spent 8 years attacking President Barack Obama because he had a “Muslim name”. They argued that he wasn’t American. They somehow compared him to Hitler.

They made poor whites think that all Muslims were terrorists. They made poor whites think that any sort of gun restriction meant that the government was trying to enslave them. The list continues…

One of the most egregious effects of the propaganda is the distortion of the definition for “elite”. They implied that the real “elites” were sophisticated intellectuals who wanted to destroy the country through the un-Christian policy of promoting diversity and equality. They blinded the poor white population to the fact that their biggest foe wasn’t these Progressive intellectuals, but rather the super-wealthy “elites” who were controlling the politicians…

They made being intellectual evil… and through their propaganda, they increased the distrust in the government.

Obstruction

They have the forum and platform. Whatever happened within the government, the propaganda machine is ready to target and attack. But what can be done within the government? Well, the Republican Party has been regarded for decades as being more disciplined and well-organized. And they have utilized their ranks to block government spending whenever they can.

Obstruction in itself is not egregious. It is simple politicking. Both political parties partake in this type of political obstructionism, especially when they are in the minority in Congress and have rival party member as President. I personally have no problem with obstruction coming into play in politics. I have no problem with politicians doing whatever they can to ensure that their constituents have the effective representation, which they are Constitutionally mandated to have. But Republicans have moved

However, there are several shocking examples of obstructionism that have taken Conservatives to a new degree of malice.

When Barack Obama became President, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans claimed, with open frankness, that their number one goal was to ensure the he was a one-term President. They did everything to make sure he was ineffective. They made him compromise often. They even prevented him from his Constitutional duty of selecting a new member of the Supreme Court. When there were issues, the Conservative politicians coordinated with the Conservative propaganda to shout-down how much of an incompetent and evil President he was.

Once again, I am not denying that petty political obstruction is played out on both sides of the aisle. Between the two parties, however, the obstructionism does more to positively impact the goals of the Conservatives. Through obstruction, a log-jam of ineffectual government has further alienated people from both political parties AND has increased the level of distrust of the Federal Government.

Incompetence

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to identify the way that the Republican party has run the country over the last year as “incompetent”. After seven years of trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they finally had the majorities to do so. And they couldn’t do it. They wrote a pathetically un-comprehensive bill that no one liked. Even after last second negotiations – including an ironic promise to some that the bill would NEVER become a law… – they couldn’t pass it. They spent SEVEN years crying about how awful it was. They never thought to spend that time coming up with a viable alternative! How pathetic!

But this has become a part of the modus operandi of Conservatives. They are damn good at organizing themselves, but they are pretty terrible at running the government!

I find myself coming back to this idea that “elite” equals “sophisticated intellectual” in the eyes of Conservatives. I would often see the conservative media refer to President Obama, a Harvard Law School Graduate and Chicago University Law School Professor of Constitutional Law, as an intellectual elitist. They made it seem like it was bad to have a President with his resume.

The last few Republican presidential candidates have had to cater to the “folksiness” of their personalities in order to be electable to their political base. George W. Bush. Sarah Palin. Donald Trump. All of these figures had mass appeal to Conservatives because they didn’t speak with a high level of, for lack of a better word, intellect. They didn’t seem like they were superior to the Average Joe. To be honest, they weren’t. Bush and his “Bush-isms”. Sarah Palin and… well, everything.

Seriously, though. Can you imagine if Sarah Palin were in office? Actually don’t even bother with that exercise because we are witnessing the worst train-wreck of all, Donald Trump, day-in and day-out absolutely dismantling any and all forms of credibility and class that the United States once had.

“Donald Trump might be the single greatest accomplishment of the Conservative movement IF the single greatest priority was to cause mass incompetence and chaos into the Federal Government.”

He is their Frankenstein monster. He is THE EXAMPLE that Conservatives can point to when they want to prove how dangerous it is to have a strong central government. I mean, I’m a Federalist to the very end. I believe truly in a strong central government with a strong Presidential position… until I met Trump. In theory, the strong Presidential figure is fine, as long as the person is qualified. We have a vetting process, known as campaigns, that is supposed to weed out all of the rotten and incompetent candidates… and yet, Donald Trump…

If HE can become President, then maybe we need to reconsider trusting such massive power to the Federal government! Except, if we’re being honest, I’m still in my 12-step recovery plan after he was elected, and I’m reconsidering trusting such important power to the people as well.

Tangent on the Stigma of Intellectual Elites…

If WE, THE PEOPLE can’t even vote right, maybe we should rely on intellectual “elites” to run the country. Because I know I sure don’t want a “folksy” President or whatever the fuck Donald Trump is. I don’t want an inarticulate president. I don’t want I don’t want to sit down and play checkers with my candidate. He’ll be my candidate IF he only plays chess. Even more so, I don’t want him even to play me. I want to challenge my President and have him look me up and down and say, “Fine, but I already know how I’m going to beat you in 5 moves,” That’s my President.

I obviously know that these intellectuals would be corrupted, but DEAR GOD, ignorance is just the worst.

Conclusion

Is it really crazy to believe? I mean, anything is possible after seeing that Donald Trump election. There is such a strong fervor in this country right now. There are calls of “Resistance!” across the population, but it’s from people who are typically in favor of a strong government. When the Federalists are resisting the Government, then it feels like the foundations of the Republic are giving out. So maybe all of this is, in fact, the intention of the Conservative, little-government Tea Partiers.

Maybe I’m incorrect with this assessment. Maybe I’m biased against the illogical arguments steaming from the Tea Party wing. Maybe I’m mislabeling “incompetence” as “malevolence”. This could all be true. But if it is true and I’m wrong about the purposeful tanking of the government by Conservatives, then WHAT THE FLUFF IS GOING ON!?!?

 

 

Trust The Progress… er, I Mean “Process”

Ben's Journal, Moderate Proposals, Politics

I have often stated that I am a Progressive. I see a problem, I solve it in a simple way. I repeat. #Progress!

You have often stated that I was an insanely successful juggernaut on the pre-American landscape (I am, of course, paraphrasing…). So, how did I become so successful a Progressive? It came down to two fundamental principles.

Firstly, walk into every room and ask yourself, “how can I make it better?”. This is the staple mentality for any successful Progressive. It implies a concern for the standards of quality in regards to all elements within your vicinity that affect the livelihood of society; both people and environment alike. It also implies a motivation to ensure that those standards are met. It’s not just concern. It’s action.

The other fundamental principle to success is to move with a confidence that borderlines on arrogance. This is the fuel which energizes you. It’s not a comparative, “I’m better than you” mentality. Rather, it’s an understanding that “I am great because I’m trying to improve the lives of all of those around me”. Walk tall because, regardless of how successful your attempt is, you are on the RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY.

“Right Side” of History

That concept, “the right side of history” is not addressed often enough in discourse. It is a nifty mindset that can help you dictate your long-term legacy in the court of public opinion. Any student of history has the ability to predict which side of a conflict will be memorialized because it follows simple guidelines:

  • It tears down an oppressive barrier to a group of people
  • It ensures positive long-term economic effects that benefit the masses, not just a certain group of people
  • It promotes equality amongst the population

Figures throughout history are revered because of their Progressive challenges to oppressive, conservative status-quos:

  • Thomas Jefferson for stating “all men are created equal” and establishing the foundation arguments for separation of church and state
  • George Washington for surrendering his office of Presidency
  • Abraham Lincoln for abolishing slavery
  • Franklin Roosevelt for supporting the working-class
  • Ghandi for fighting British imperialism
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. for challenging segregation

These men are remembered for their moves that would be considered “Progressive” in their time period. They challenged policies and institutions that had been based off of previous rationale and argument. They altered the course of history for humanity. They opened up opportunities for groups that had once been denied those “inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. They are the ones who are taught about in schools. They are regarded as heroes and are quoted and emulated from people on both sides of political ideology. They are remembered because of their PROGRESSIVISM.

Now, I hope reading this list has raised an eye-brow. That is good, because that means that you can identify the irony…

  • The first two men owned hundreds of slaves
  • The middle two men were racist
  • The last two men were misogynistic

These men were not Gods. Not even Demi-Gods. They were flawed. They had prejudices and biases that prevented them from doing more to ensure equality for all. Often, they were at the forefront of one cause, but disappeared into the mob of contemporary public opinion for other issues. As fair as we think it might be to hope for someone who could push the oppressive boundaries in all directions, this concept is, unfortunately, just not realistic. But all it took was to be on the forefront of one cause, to challenge one indoctrinated evil (and then to prevail) for them to move forward the advancement of society. Did they do something exceptional? Yes. Did they do enough? Probably not. But that’s how change in society occurs…

Societal Evolution

Society is always evolving for the better. The progress sometimes can be rapid. Sometimes it can feel like it is crawling at a snail’s pace. But it’s still progressing. It is a valuable reminder for Progressives. Because progress implies change, it is going to run into resistance each step of the way. Reactionaries, out of fear or anger, will fight back to sabotage progress, either through hindrance or outright reversal. This is the nature of humans! Depending on the conflict, the level of resistance will fluctuate, but it is always guaranteed. That is why any type of progress is still good.

Progress is not easy. It will never provide a clear path. I heard a great story from Daniel Day Lewis, as he played Abraham Lincoln, and it has always resonated with me:

A compass I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you true north from where your standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps, deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing true north?

(Lincoln, 2012)

Compromise

I am a big supporter of COMPROMISE. Throughout negotiations, you will often have to reach compromise. It makes everyone angry. But it also provides a substantial foundation to build upon. You may not be able to fully open the door that shuts you out. However, if you have compromised to get a foot in the door, then it will become less difficult for the next person to come along and provide the effort to open it further.

For example, the Affordable Care Act. It enforces the Progressive belief that all Americans should be protected in affordable healthcare. It did a lot of good in providing accessible healthcare for approximately 20 million people who couldn’t afford it before. However, there are issues with the bill. Because of the process for a bill to become a law, the ACA was altered and changed to cater to hundreds of members of Congress. Some wanted the ACA to go farther to ensure free healthcare. Most wanted it to do waaaaaay less. The end result was a compromised bill that was complicated and inefficient in many ways. Does it need to be revised? Absolutely. However, it finally ensured that Federal government was going to ensure that poor people had access to healthcare… THAT’S PROGRESS! Down the line, it will hopefully become more efficient. But in the meantime, it is a huge accomplishment for Progressives.

This is not to say that you should settle for minimal progress. It is a constant struggle that will always leave you desiring for more to be done. Humanity will provide you with the most stubborn of opponents in your crusade… always. So you must understand that it is a process. As Progressives, you need to TRUST THE PROCESS, and keep fighting for your desired goals.

An Essay on Racism

Politics

Introduction

Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. If you come on my tour, you will spend your time in Old City learning about the great things that the Founding Fathers did. Excellent! To quote our latest (last?) president: “We did great things. Super big things. We did a phenomenal job.” (Trump, #twitter) Let’s not pretend, however, that we were saints. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be worshipped as a Demi-God. (I deserve it more than most.) But it’s what we DID NOT do that is still causing problems 230 years later.

Slavery is that problem. We did not end slavery when we had a chance. In fact, we made it worse. During the Constitutional Convention, we gave the the southern slave states more political power by allowing them to count slaves into the population. More people represented in a region will mean more members in the House of Representatives. The north protested. The south lashed back. We ended up compromising and saying that each slave would count as three-fifths of a person.

By incorporating the 3/5 Compromise into the Constitution, we reinforced the horrible institution in two ways: 1) we strengthened the political power of the southern plantations; and 2) we established it as a fundamental institution.

Increased Southern Political Power

The Three-Fifths Compromise was supposed to be a compromise. (Compromise (n.) – Selling your soul to save your hide) Instead, we allowed more representatives for slaveholders because we included a large number of people who couldn’t even be represented. We gave the southerners more power by giving them more seats in the House of Representatives and more votes in the Electoral College. This ensured the survival of slavery. The select few of us, First Generation Americans, who actually detested slavery, always figured that a war would be the only way to end slavery…. and we were right. But do you think, before the Civil War, the population as a whole would be willing to have a war if they knew it would kill 670,000 Americans? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but the answer is “no”. (73 years of failed compromises between the north and south proved this…)

“Canonized” Institution

Our Constitution established the three branches of government. It set term limits. It created the Electoral College. It understood the weaknesses in humanity and provided checks and balances to prevent consolidation of too much power. It became the blueprint for our republic, the most successful republic in world history. This document is worshipped in our country more than the Bible. The phrase, “that’s unconstitutional!”, has a stronger impact than the phrase, “that’s un-Christian!” in this country. So anything written in it, is essentially American gospel… even if the gospel that is preached includes racism, sexism and prejudice.

Soooooo, basically, established a racist and oppressive foundation making it easy for future generations of white-privileged, American, men to defend and rationalize hypocrisy, racism, prejudice, injustice, oppression, enslavement, rape, and murder.

How does one defend the institution of slavery? The answer is: They cannot and should not. But sometimes the most indefensible mistakes can become the most valuable learning experiences. After all, how else will we curb racism unless we understand how one can rationalize and defend it? (Remember: History doesn’t repeat itself; it paraphrases) Let’s look at my own experience:

My Failures

I printed advertisements for slave sales in my newspaper. I owned two slaves. I am aware that fighting for liberty while denying it to others at the same time made us vicious hypocrites. Unfortunately, my mindset was developed, at the time, from a practical approach. I knew that the institution of slavery was so enmeshed in the fabric of our society that it was unlikely to meet its demise any time soon. Servitude was an institution that went as far back in human history as all others. I wrongfully rationalized that I would be unable to do anything to dismantle the institution; so I, instead, decided to take advantage of the rules it rewarded to me, a white man.

I recognized and argued that the idea of white racial superiority was only prevalent because we were treating them as animals. If the black population were allowed to be educated, I argued, then they would be just as successful as whites. But they were not allowed to be educated, and  so I was unable to prove my point. So this artificial facade of racial supremacy stood firm. I was, of course, a “child of the times” and my “times” were waaaay racist and prejudicial. (Hell, I hated Germans!) Every cultural group despised each other. English vs. French, Christian vs. Muslim, Catholic vs. Protestant… hypocrisy and distrust were everywhere. This is not an attempt to defend slavery, but it does help to explain the mindset of humans. Geographic differences are common enough (Suck it, New Jersey!) without incorporating, distinct languages and cultures…. Let alone skin color. (Foreign = different = not normal) It takes a long time for change to occur in societal norms and expectations. (Think real hard about how many people were willing to argue and fight for gay marriage 10 years ago…) I did very little to attempt to break down barriers in my youthful years.

We had to tip-toe around the subject during the birth of our nation because the South was unwilling to join with the North unless slavery was untouched. Our only priority was to establish a firm union, so we let all other attempts at bettering the world evaporate.

It wasn’t until the end of my life that I tried to curb the influence of slavery, but to little avail. (I joined a petition to support a bill in the House of Representatives to abolish the slave trade. When Southern slave owners argued it was their “Christian duty” to convert the heathens, I responded with satire. I wrote an essay as a Muslim slave trader who defended the enslavement of “heathen Christians” and convert them to the true religion, Islam. (Remember: those who rationalize oppression based on their religious beliefs are God Damn hypocrites.) Though clever, the essay produced far too little too late. I, like so many others, did not focus on attacking the subject when I was younger because I had everything to lose. Only when I was on my deathbed did I put any effort into it.

It’s hardly the story of a martyr…

I will not defend myself. I genuinely repent for my wrongs and failures. I hope our mistakes, as the Founders of our nation, will be used as a guide into the understanding of human nature, and government as a whole. Let’s consider the selfish nature of human nature….

Human Nature’s Selfish Nature

I spent my entire life trying to figure out a formula that could measure, estimate, and explain human nature. What I realized was that it was impossible to compute humanity. Humans are, by nature, contrary and complicated. We say one thing and do the other. It can never be 100% determined when it will occur, but inconsistency can be consistently guaranteed. (Did that make sense?) Humans are not just beastly individualistic by nature, nor are they all socially civilized. Both are true some of the time; neither are true all the time. For example a person can be reasoned with, but a mob of people demand action not reason. The closest thing to certainty, however, is that humans reach their optimum level of compassion when their self-interest is not in jeopardy.

We all come from various experiences and relationships that shape our opinions and actions. We, as individual humans, can be incredibly generous and compassionate. We can be charitable and empathetic. Some are selfless. Most, however, only reach this level of “model citizenry” once they are sure that their own interests are taken care of. Survival, comfort, security for children… all are very natural variables which most humans consider of the highest importance. This fact can negatively impact the quality of compassion and empathy that a person gives to others.

Self-interest is not moral. Self-interest is not rational. Self-interest is certainly not charitable. And yet, everyone can relate to it. That is why the most genuinely selfless are hailed and canonized as heroes and saints… because they are the exceptions to this rule!

Taking that sentiment into consideration, it is easy to see why slavery became an entrenched part of our society. The value of a nation does not come from the land, but rather the productivity of people who develop it. Therefore, the more developed and productive your land and people  were, the more value and power you had. Free labor was a commodity every person wanted; an increase in goods and productivity (with minimal cost) appeals to anyone who wants to increase their time and wealth. What started with indentured servitude built the backbone of slavery. After all, one only had their servant for seven years… what does one do when they’ve gotten accustomed to that type of “help”? . The threat of potentially losing that level of production and value than causes one to think about ways to keep a more permanent level of servitude… slavery is the most profitable.

In a cruel twist of irony, the Age of Reason, flourished in a time of rampant prejudice. One could easily rationalize a defense of slavery on the grounds of racial superiority…

All it takes is one generation for the institution to be so deeply entrenched in the society for people to be unwilling to change it. An institution where people can produce needed goods as cheaply and quickly as possible; while at the same time serving as motivation for others who want to achieve that kind of land, wealth, and power. This is the type of life most farmers wanted and many children grew up experiencing. One in which slaves are prevalent and considered a commodity, not a worker. Businessmen, both North and South, are seeing how popular and “free” this form of labor has become. They are motivated to invest and profit from this lucrative trade. Entire livelihoods are based on this institution. Compassion for the enslaved is lost under the profits and gains of the business world. Even those who would be willing to free slaves and pay them for their work, do not because they will be unable to compete with anyone who employs “free” slave labor. People have been willing to fight for their beliefs, do you really believe they would not do the same to maintain their livelihoods?

Thus the complexity of Human Nature: A person wants to do the right thing; yet when faced with the question of a person’s value, they are selfish in nature.

But enough explaining… Now to the REAL purpose of this essay…..

 

A Brief(-ish) Message to Rational White People

Let’s get something straight, rational white people: we need to seriously accept this fuck up. LET THE WHITE GUILT SINK IN. Own it. Let it make you feel sick and shameful.  I am, to be honest, embarrassed at how much we, as a Caucasian collective, have NOT done this. We continue to reinforce painful ignorance, if not outright atrocities, towards minorities…

So listen up!  I am reaching out to those good natured people who do not mean to be racist… yet still manage to pull it off ever-so convincingly… (We make it look so easy!) Let’s summarize our “inglorious” track-record in a nutshell:

  • We kidnapped and stole a population of people from their homes in Africa
  • We put chains on them and took them to a far-off land, throwing away bodies of the dead in the ocean as if they were nothing
  • We spent 250 years raising their subsequent generations to be considered inferior creatures; treating them like animals
  • We fought a war that killed 650,000 men in it to abolish/maintain slavery (depending on which side we were fighting for)
  • We, the Northerners, shamelessly exploited the “rights” of the freed blacks in order to punish the Southerners, while putting little effort into trying to respect and repay the newly freed population
  • We, the Southerners, spent the next 100 years preventing the black population from the rights to run independent businesses, to own homes, to receive an education, to vote
  • We, the Northerners, spent the next 100 years denying jobs, housing, and a quality education to the black population because they were competing with what we already had.
  • We, the Southerners, maintained a consistent reign of terror on the black population through brutal violence, rape, and lynching as a method to maintain status quo.
  • We, the Northerners, did the same, but in a more covert way, encouraging blacks to stick to within their own culture or to become more white like us.
  • We were the bad guys in the Civil Rights Movement. We assaulted their heroes. We arrested their heroes. We sent the big bad FBI after their heroes. We murdered their heroes because at that time, they weren’t “our” heroes
  • We all have maintained segregation despite the Voting Rights Act and Brown v. Board of Education through many ways, some of which include gerrymandered districts and the “White Flight” to the suburbs.
  • We maintained poverty in their communities, provided inferior education, and made it easy for drugs and guns to flow into the communities… and yet still remorselessly and condescendingly look down on these communities
  • We sent many of them to prison over petty crimes and then become shocked and horrified that they come out hardened…  doing  little to rehabilitate and educate them…
  • We built up this image of the dangerous young black man, terrifying all who are not one of them.
  • We allowed police to LITERALLY get away with murder…. all in the name of  our “law and order.”
  • We continue to exploit every aspect of their culture for the sake of “entertainment” while not realizing how ignorant we are of their history, struggle, joys, and celebrations which make up that “entertainment” …(Ignorant of ignorance…  #ironic)
  • Oh, yea! We also treated our first black president like he was “un-American” for no reason other than just because he was colored and had a “weird” name…

In other words: WE, as a collective whole caucasian peoples, need to stop saying and doing just about everything and take some time to reflect.

We need to understand that “All Lives Matters” is exactly the tone-deaf response that members of the Black Lives Matter predicted we’d have. We missed the point that whites would be MORE sensitive if white people were dying in the same manner… because we were being too sensitive about ourselves first.

We need to stop saying “I don’t see race” and “racism is done”. We need to understand that we make these statements because we are PRIVILEGED enough not to know the feeling of being stopped and harassed for the color of our skin. We aren’t reminded about race and their effects  every day unless we go to seek it.

We need to stop complaining about Affirmative Action and start sending much needed suburban taxpayer money into poor urban school districts. It’s called “equity”. More resources need to be used to ameliorate the problems (which we caused) in order to maybe, just maybe, be able to provide a more equal playing-field in the generations to come.

Until we realize that we really don’t know what it feels like to be a minority in this country, then we need to just sit down and shut the franklin up.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sooooo, I know what you’re thinking… I think…

I mean, you might have been waiting for the reading to get a bit more funny or sarcastic… or you could have stopped reading a long time ago… but in general you might be feeling overwhelmed with emotions like guilt, anger, annoyance, confusion, or hunger (it’s a long essay…).

Let me help you and summarize the important take aways: 

  • Us, Founding Fathers, reeeeeeeeally fucked up by maintaining and strengthening the institution of slavery; which means that white, straight, males are the cause of most (if not all) societal problems in America. Yea, I said it.
  • No matter the color of skin, all humans are capable of rationalizing prejudice and slavery because of a tendency towards self-preservation (FACT)
  • Regardless of the acknowledgement that all humans are capable of enslaving others, let me once again REITERATE that White Americans need to understand that we are to blame for the socio-economic problems within American society (#firstworldamericanproblems)
  • Whites are born with ZERO credibility to discuss race because our privilege blinds us to the prevalence of racism in daily life

Let me be frank…. -lin (BOOM! #puns): I don’t expect any earth-shattering changes to come from this essay. I learned long ago that COMMON SENSE says that people do not want to be corrected…. even with COMMON SENSE. So my expectations are tempered, yet, if I managed to get you to walk away deep in reflection or more enlightened mind, then I did my job.

Remember, ignorance can be more dangerous and detrimental than outright hatred. Ignorance hides us from all forms of transgressions, robs us from our opportunities of growth and change, and allows us to maintain a status quo without feeling any sort of guilt. If White America can embrace the guilt, then we can begin to move in the right direction. If not? Well, then we will continue to grasp in the dark for that elusive objective that we, Founding Fathers, set out to create: A More Perfect Union.

Moderate Policy Proposal – Discounts for Teachers, Police, and Firefighters

Moderate Proposals, Politics

I’m Ben Franklin and I’m running for President in 2020. Below is a moderate policy proposal to retain high quality teachers, police, and firefighters in poor urban centers like Philadelphia…cropped-cropped-ffp.png.

Introduction

Here’s some COMMON SENSE: the great scourge of Philadelphia is poverty. Most other civic problems – crime, education, drugs, etc. – are a direct result of the fundamental need for food and shelter. The cause of this horrible catalyst is a lack of support from the “government for the people” via job opportunities, adequate education, and other services. The government can only operate effectively through the money that it receives from taxes. COMMON SENSE tells us that someone who is unable to put food on the table is also unable to pay taxes. Therefore, the less tax revenue coming in means that the government provides weaker services to assist the poverty-stricken… and the cycle continues.

This proposal is not dedicated to improving the decrepit infrastructure. That will be in several other proposals. Instead, this proposal is dedicated to improving the morale of those service men and women who are on the front-lines battling the negative effects of poverty: firefighters, police, and teachers. These civic heroes spend each and every day focusing their energies into improving the quality of life for the local population despite the lack of resources.

THE PROBLEM

Firefighters and police risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. They battle the fires, both figurative and literal, that threaten to wholly destroy the neighborhoods. They are our noble service men and women and they do not get recognized for it enough.

Priority one is protecting the community, immediately followed by educating the community. Therefore the city needs to ensure that teachers feel equal support. Firefighters and policeman fight to prevent the expansion of the desolation of the landscape, while teachers fight to prevent the desolation of the soul.

A (brief) NOTE ON TEACHERS

Teachers are the creative geniuses that walk into crumbling buildings in poor, violent neighborhoods and become the impetus for positive change. They fight against the negative mind-set that threatens to pollute our children’s views of community, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

TEACHERS ARE SCIENTISTS. They take into account psychological developments of adolescents and making the appropriate modifications to proven teaching techniques implementing data-driven statistical analysis to ensure student success.

TEACHERS ARE ARTISTS. They apply a creative and an engaging presence, style, and improvisational techniques to ensure that students learn in a thoughtful, entertaining way.

However, the nobility of the work done by these wonderful service people does little to negate the psychological hardships that impact them. Day-in and day-out they receive verbal and sometimes physical abuse within the very realms they attempt to improve. While they are appreciated by many people, they are undervalued and trivialized by many more. Expectations for immediate results weigh down the ever-increasing workloads while classrooms get filled beyond capacity. The financial compensation does little to provide relief to the psychological hardships.

As a result, these front-line fighters burn out and move to the suburbs in droves. Why wouldn’t they? There are fewer behavioral concerns, more resources, healthier senses of “school community”, and improved payment due to the taxes of these lucrative areas… but there may be a heightened risk for grizzly bears. How is a poor urban city to compete?

OK, BACK TO THE PROBLEM….

So teachers are moving to greener pastures in the suburbs. Police and firefighters stick to the job until they retire. The appeal of these positions dwindle meaning less and less people are willing to join the services. This leads to a potential decrease in standards of future teachers, police, and firefighters. Less talented candidates or inexperienced rookies are going to take over. By the time they grow into veterans, they are ready to leave the plight of the city. Therefore, the most important job is to maintain these service men and women. But how?

THE SOLUTION

The answer is simple: incentivize and support. If a city such as Philadelphia is going to be able to maintain the skilled teachers, then the city must encircle itself and truly show these teachers that they are appreciated by the entire population. Standard increases in pay will not be sufficient. The funds are dried up and the state and federal governments have their own agendas for ensuring Philadelphia does not receive the money which is desperately needed. So what can Philadelphia do? What valuable variables does the city have as leverage? Why, we have our entertainments and our commodities!

Imagine for a moment, that a teacher is working 60-70 hours a week and is making approximately $50,000 a year. While the salary is satisfactory, the workload and the realities of exponentially increasing debt hinder the ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Since an increase in payment is unlikely, A DECREASE IN THE COST-OF-LIVING IS THE ANSWER.

The city of Philadelphia should pass a law that requires businesses in the city to discount prices for all commodities and necessities for teachers, police, and firefighters by 25%. This would include grocery stores, real estate, and entertainments such as bars, restaurants, sporting events, cultural events, etc. While businesses might chafe at the idea of losing extra income flow, the city would be able to incentivize the miracle workers of the city to continue with their miracles.

The philosophy behind the law is fundamentally rooted in the idea that we, as a population, must make it our moral obligation to ensure that our children and our neighbors’ children are safe and receive the best education possible. By allowing service men and women to pay reduced prices for all of their daily needs and enjoyments, they will be motivated to continue working within the city when their sense of moral righteousness fades.

The smart business-owner would be able to capitalize on such a law. While decreasing the cost for every drink every teacher consumes might sound like a financial waste to some bartenders, it will actually cause the opposite effect: an increase in sales. Lower drink prices will ensure a steady influx of grizzled, battered, and abused “miracle-workers” polishing the bar stools at 4 PM every day, a whole hour before most Happy Hours begin. Many other businesses would thrive as well since the usually poor and tired educator would feel more inclined to explore and let loose now that they know that their City-Wide Specials cost $1.50… imagine what $10 would do.

CONCLUSION

As we developed the Constitution in 1787, I remember a constant debate revolving around the idea of salary for political officials. In emphasizing the need for candidates to be motivated to serve from a sense of moral dignity, we kept the salaries minimal. It risked losing highly qualified candidates to more lucrative positions in the private sector, but we represented virtue and righteousness. However, with the positions came a sense of gravitas, which appealed to talented and ambitious wannabe leaders. If we provide discounts to these service men and women, we can let them live above their income, and might be able to create some gravitas for them to stay.

At least we’re not raising taxes…

Moderate Proposal – White Man Registry

Moderate Proposals, Politics

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“THE INVASION HAS BEGUN! We are being overrun! The immigrants are here to steal our jobs and destroy our way of life!”

White Men

(from Jessup McProfessor’s  “The First American Tradition: Hate and Distrust Immigrants”)

Introduction

It is imperative that we, as concerned Americans, protect ourselves militarily and economically. Despite our country’s economic struggles we are still looked on with disdain from other countries. We will continue to be a target for terrorists who look to destroy our image abroad. However, while we protect from external enemies, we must also continue to secure our internal protection. After all, the bark of the tree is meaningless if it’s already rotten in the core. We must do more to prevent domestic terrorism from crippling our lives. People are terrified. Society is in chaos and we continue to fray at the edges. During these times of distrust and frustrations, we must be willing to acknowledge the true heart of the problems, no matter who becomes offended. We must be unafraid to identify the element which is rotting us from the core. And we must purge ourselves of the said element, Bill of Rights be damned!

If you vote for me, Benjamin Franklin, for President in 2020, I promise you that a top priority for the country will be NATIONAL SECURITY! The first step I will take is to create REGISTRY to identify and track the most dangerous demographic in America: the WHITE CHRISTIAN MALE.

Clarification on Definition

Throughout this writing, the term, “WCM”, will be used in order to define the demographic of WHITE, CHRISTIAN, MALE.

Catholics, while historically persecuted by Protestants in the U.S., are counted because in many urban areas, they have held extensive influence for over a century and, therefore, have been actively involved in persecution and violence.

Homosexuals are not counted because there are too many Christian whites in the country who cite the Bible as a justification to harrass them, murder them, and prevent them from the pursuit of happiness.

Jewish Men are not counted because there are still too many Christian whites in the country who make comments about the Holocaust like ass holes.

Argument

Let’s be honest. WCMs have done a lot to advance the country… considering we never allowed anyone else to help. The metaphor about the tree is true of our country. As the country has become increasingly diverse, it has become clearer and clearer that our external image has maintained strength. However, the core is rotten, and that rot stems from the roots. Our very founding of this nation (by myself and my compatriots) began with rot as we watered our seed of liberty with the blood and tears of slavery.

Compassion has never been the strength of WCMs. This is what happens when one is born into a life of privilege: one begins to assume that they are more important and valuable than others. REMEMBER: WCMs successfully argued our way around the phrase “all men are created equal,” for more than a century in order to prevent equality for women and other ethnicities. We hoard our toys and privilege and we guard them very jealously. Then, like bratty children, we complain and throw tantrums when our privileges and advantages are taken away from us.

Unfortunately, our “tantrums” are more similar to the actions of cornered and injured animals. We lash out viciously. We grab our guns and we go out in a “blaze of gory” (#PUNS!). Let’s consider our responses to different movements in our national history:

  • New Immigrants (Irish):
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
  • Abolition of Slavery:
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
    • The Civil War
  • New Immigrants (Italians and Chinese)
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
  • Civil Rights Movement
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
    • Assassinations

These are only a few examples. The list of movements and events can be broken down into individual cases, but the pattern is the same. WCMs try to maintain control through institutional policies that suppress the rights of others. When that fails and these oppressed groups finally throw the chains off of themselves, we don’t applaud them for emulating the most “American” of images: the freedom fighter. Instead, we pull out our guns and open fire.

Since it is only human to expect a violent response from any group that is slowly losing power, it is our responsibility to ensure the protection of all Americans, the majority of whom are not White or Male. When our demographic screams in fear at the idea of armed People of Color (POCs) while continuing to arm ourselves at a frantic pace, we become even more dangerous. The violence is only encouraged when the punishments for this group is proportionally lessened than for other groups. FOR EXAMPLE: In January 2016, an armed militia took over a government-owned Malheur National Wildlife Reserve in Oregon and held it for 41 days because they wanted the land…. and they were acquitted.

We, as a country, need to monitor and track all members of this MOST DANGEROUS DEMOGRAPHIC in order to prevent violence against other groups from occurring. With that, I’d like to submit my initial proposal to be introduced on my First Day of Office.

Mode of Registry

  1. All WCMs will be required at the commencement of the Bill to report to their local registry locations within 48 hours.
    1. Every registry location will be at an alcoholic consumption location most closely linked to the regional demographic:
      1. Roadhouses in the Rural Regions; Irish Pubs in the Urban Centers
      2. NOTE: Marijuana dispensaries do not qualify as registration locations. Research has proven dispensaries contain a significantly larger percentage of pacified WCMs peacefully and amicably interacting with People of Color (POCs) and Jews (Js).
    2. It will be ensured that the allotted 48 hours falls on the weekend.
    3. If any White Christian Male fails to report before the deadline of the allotted 48 hours, they will be arrested on suspicions of terrorism.
      1. NOTE: Nothing is more suspicious than a WCM missing a weekend at a pub or roadhouse.
  2. Upon arrival at the designated Registry Location, the WCMs will be required to provide 5 pieces of identification including the following:
    1. Drivers License
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. Social Security Card
    4. National Rifle Association Membership Card
    5. A Family Tree with the names of every immediate and intermediate family member and their home address
  3. Once through the entrance check point, WCMs will receive a questionnaire which will be required to be filled out under surveillance.
    1. Surveillance must be security camera OR first generation American with a scrutinizing glare and/or a smug, ironic smile
  4. After completing all 1,776 questions, WCMs will be given a two-hour US History and Politics Exam to test their actual knowledge of unabridged American history.
  5. Once exam is completed, WCMs will be required to give a DNA sample.
  6. After Registry has occurred:
    1. WCMs will be required to wear a tracking bracelet at all times
    2. WCMs will be required to check-in at local registry one time a month
    3. WCMs will occasionally be brought in for questioning if any hate-speech on the internet is found to be sent/forwarded from near your location.

Sample Questions from the Questionnaire:

1) State your name (first, middle, last): _________________

15) Do you believe Affirmative Action to be unfairly bias in favor of the African-American population and other POCs who come from groups who throughout the nation’s history have been repeatedly harassed, enslaved, murdered – while at the same time denied fundamental resources and opportunities to compete – by your demographic? If yes, are your feelings hurt?

38) How often do you say the “N” word including “quoting a rap song”? Avg per week _____

189) On a scale of 1-10, how would you feel if your sister was dating:

  1. African American (10 – Embrace him like a brother, 1 – “Rage” to Eminem tracks) ____
  2. Mexican (10 – Salsa Dance; 1 – Fermente) ____
  3. Jew (10 – Yiddish for “hug”; 1 – ‘Sig Heil’ like an ass hole) _____
  4. Muslim (10 – “Salaam  Alaikum”; 1 – “It’s one of dem Got Damn A-Rabs!”) ____

323) Stand up and dance. After you have danced, answer how do you feel about it? _____________________________

784) Do you listen to rap music? (Y/N) ____

785) Do you listen to heavy metal music? (Y/N) _____

786) What are the names of country music artists that you listen to? __________________________

Final Message for WCMs

It will feel only natural for you to feel a range of negative emotions. Anger. Fear. Despair. Depression. These are to be expected. But you must remember that we, as a group, have fucked up enough. Our country was not founded based on any ethnicity, but rather as an idea. It is important that we now allow the country to reach that idea unimpeded by us….
… does that sound patronizing? Good, now you know how it feels.

My Promise as a Teacher: I Will Never Forget

Politics

The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of emotions for many people in the country. Shock. Horror. Anger. Depression. Shame. You know, just your standard stages of mourning…

(It’s a terrible sign when a bunch of teachers are crying after an election, by the way…)

Now, Trump supporters will roll their eyes and say, “Oh you’re just being dramatic. It won’t be that bad. Now is the time to come together as a country and put this vicious campaign behind us,” Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sentiment. I really do. The American political tradition is built on this sense of reconciliation. After a long hard fought political battle, this gesture is what makes us unique and strong. You can see this feeling manifest in the statements made today by President-Elect Donald Trump. He went to the White House and described how “honored” he was to be meeting President Obama. His victory speech, the previous day, was humble and soft-spoken as he stated his intentions to help ALL Americans. His two minions, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, even stated that they would graciously reconsider bringing criminal charges to Hillary Clinton! So once again, I understand the need and desire to put all of this bad blood behind us in order to mend our wounds and “Make America Great Again”.

Here’s the problem. All of these “genuine” gestures of reconciliation are BULLSHIT. To “let bygones be bygones” is to try to throw back into the closet all of the 2-week old, festering, dirty laundry that came out in this election. This is something I will not do. I have too much integrity to reconcile.

Here is what I WILL do:

As a teacher to a population of African-American and Muslim students, I will explain to my students how Trump won. I will explain to them that most people who voted for him were concerned about losing their jobs and that he was the only one promising to make it better. I will explain to them that only a fraction of the electorate voted for him solely out of a racist agenda. I will talk them down from the cliff as they contemplate all of the ways in which Trump is going to take away their rights. I will urge them to educate themselves and others; to organize their communities and friends; to take political action and peacefully protest for their rights; and to vote. I will do everything in my power to keep them hopeful in the future of our country.

But I will NOT forget everything you said and did, Donald Trump.

I will not forget how you championed a political agenda based on racist, xenophobic rhetoric. I will not forget how you called Mexicans “rapists”. I will not forget how you called on the country to ban Muslims. I will not forget how you spent five years accusing our President of being born in Kenya in order to discredit him. I will not forget how you used these horrible, hate-filled, divisive statements to help get you elected. I do believe that you are not racist, but your white privilege makes you ignorant, nonetheless. The fact that you would knowingly use this type of rhetoric to push your cause forward makes you worse than a racist. At least someone who is racist has principles, as fucked up as they are. I will never forget that you are less principled than a bigot.

I will not forget how you banned several media outlets from covering you because they critiqued and criticized the divisive comments you make. I will never forget how you claimed you would challenge the First Amendment in order to punish our free press if you were elected. I will not forget how you loved to deliver insults but couldn’t handle any in return. I will not forget how you ranted and railed against comedians, politicians, and pundits who made fun of your or challenged you. I will not forget how you often did this on Twitter…. at 3 AM.

I will never forget the misogyny. I will never forget “grab her by the pussy” or the appalling first 30 minutes of the second debate where you shamelessly threw the different accusers of Bill Clinton into Hillary’s face just so you could deflect from your transgressions.

There are too many other things you did to list here, but here’s just a few more things I will not forget:

I will not forget how everyone – media, analysts, and people from your own party/campaign – predicted you would lose because your campaign simply could not, would not, and should not be taken seriously.

I will not forget that my wife, my mother, my sisters, my nieces, and my other female friends and family did not get to see the first woman president become elected because they lost to you.

I will not forget how angry and scared my students have been due to the constant tensions with police. I remember telling them that they needed to vote because they didn’t have a right to complain if they chose not to use their right. On Monday, I reminded them, able to vote for the first time in their lives, to vote on Tuesday.

I will never forget the looks on their faces on Wednesday. The shock. The horror. The dejectedness. This was their first time voting, and the outcome made them question every positive value they had heard about it. 

I WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU SCARED MY KIDS. I will never forgive you for this.

So as we move into the next four years, I will be a good citizen. I have spent my adult years worshipping Ben Franklin and trying to create a fresh look at America’s founding through a “Progressively Patriotic” lens. I will respect that you are President through America’s Electoral College, even though you lost the popular vote. I will respect the Office of the President and give you a chance to solve the many problems in the country. But I will not forget everything that you did to make me lose my faith in America’s values.

I will never forget. I cannot forget.

Policy #1: REFORMING CAMPAIGNS INTO NON-PROFITS

Ben's Journal, Politics

The responsibility of every politician is to serve the people, not to stroke their own ego. As I watch the elections of every level of government, I see less of the former and more of the latter. Of course, COMMON SENSE requires us to review the credentials of each and every candidate for each and every position in public office. COMMON SENSE also reminds us that one who runs for public office must have confidence in their abilities and, therefore, must have their ego stroked in order to maintain that faith in their self. However, must their ego be stroked at the rate of approximately One Billion Dollars in each presidential election cycle?!? I am still learning about the fashions and customs of the modern world but I can tell you that this is a poor use of our extensive, but still limited, resources.

I understand the feeling that one must raise money in order to run an effective campaign operation in the current campaign system, but COMMON SENSE argues that raising $100 million for a failed campaign is a poor investment, even if the candidate was in contention until the very last moment. What adds insult to idiocy is that this enormous sum of money is loosely thrown around each election cycle while pervasive societal issues such (poverty, education, etc.) continue. These issues need to be consistently addressed, and not just as talking points, by the candidates. Because the American people need to know that these politicians can effectively combat these societal issues, COMMON SENSE would therefore argue that the campaign cycle should be a challenge to tackle one of these issues. Here is my proposal:

POLICY #1: POLITICAL NON-PROFIT CAMPAIGN

Issue Addressed: Campaign Financing Reform meets Funding for Social Programs

Political Spectrum: All

Key Points:

  1. Candidates will establish and operate a non-profit organization addressing one societal issue that pervades within the American community
  2. Donors do not donate to the candidate but rather to the candidate’s organization
  3. The candidate will use free media outlets to provide platform policies of their potential administrations
  4. Candidates will be required to be involved in 5 debates to be controlled and run by third parties.
  5. After election, failed candidates required to stabilize non-profit and run it effectively until qualified replacement is found.

It is COMMON SENSE that, between the two phrases, “well done” is better than “well said”; therefore, the Election Cycle should be chance for candidates to prove their worth as potential future leaders of the “Free World”. No longer, will the American people have to be inundated with multiple messages, speeches, and positive/negative advertisements. A qualified speech-writer can make any Poor Dick appear like a Demi-God. However, if a candidate is placed at the head of an non-profit organization, we, the people, will immediately witness the level of their effectiveness. There are many benefits to this system.

Benefits

As previously mentioned, the people get to act as scouts, monitoring the movements of each and every candidate. We take the candidates on a “test-run” and determine the strengths and deficiencies of each of them. We take every move into account: what their issue priority is; whom the candidates select in each position within the organization; how effectively the organization becomes (etc.). The Executive Branch of the government is a massive organization that requires the oversight of dozens of departments in the bureaucracy. The pressure of heading our ship of state is immense. I would argue that a candidate who can handle the immense pressure of creating and running an organization dedicated to effectively educate low-income populations while, in the meantime, competing against other candidates in the spotlight of the critical media, is worthy of a potential nomination, if not vote.

There is no more noble cause than effectively tackling poverty or funding a series of schools. Therefore, we can forgive many politicians for their flaws in character if they are effective. Of course, the more egregious characteristic impediments will not be able to be ignored, but if the people are prevented from questioning a woman on her family values because she has chosen to be successful at her work than have a family. If she can help feed children, than who cares if she has them, herself?! I certainly do not!

Furthermore, the donors, themselves, can feel proud of their contributions to normally underfunded organizations. Even if their candidate loses the election, they can feel proud that they raised money to fight one of the many major problems that plague our society. Imagine if Bernie Sanders and his supporters had spent his campaign money – approximately $228 million – on developing a program to reduce college debt. Imagine if Jeb Bush had used his $155 million to aid and support army veterans returning home from war in the Middle East. Imagine if Donald Trump had used his $95 million into a program for early education programs for children…. well maybe not that last one. But you get the idea. If any of those candidates lose, then America still wins. Besides, once someone has donated to an organization, they are more likely to continue providing funds. (Disclaimer: this is a statement which I did no research on and is based off a basic assumption. #politicking)

There will still be an opportunity for the candidates to express their opinions, of course, but their money will not be involved. Third party news outlets will run the televised debates with effective moderators who will make the candidates answer difficult questions. Online sites can run their advertisements. In other words, their messages will be loud, but their actions will be louder.

My Campaign

In order to make show the effectiveness of this policy initiative, I will model my own campaign as a non-profit organization. The “Franklin For President” campaign is dedicated to raising awareness to Common Sense as well as raising money for schools in Philadelphia. The profits of every T-Shirt sold by “Enlightning Tees” will be divided and donated to raise money for both students and teachers. This movement is much more important than the campaign itself. All of my writings and all of my projects will be dedicated to battling urban education. So if you donate to me, you are supporting education! No other candidate can claim that!

 

 

Democratic-Republican – The Party of Compromise

Politics

Moderation, and Compromise

Ladies and Gentleman,

My name is Ben Franklin and I am running for President of the United States of America! Over the following months, I will begin laying out my policy initiatives but to begin with, I will present my rationale and political ideology.

It has come to my attention that the people of our nation might need to receive a right-cross to the jaw by a fist clutching a roll of pennies. In other words: Americans need to be hit with COMMON CENTS. (Yes, it is going to be that type of essay…) Everywhere I look, I see vitriolic rhetoric (Translation: “harsh words”), which has poisoned the political process, proving that democracy is nothing more than multiple mobs competing through sheer auditory volume for political power. There is anger on both sides of the political spectrum. Congress is constipated from rival representatives trembling at the thought of attempting to calm their angry constituents. As we all know, frustration and anger increases from constipation and, therefore, the people’s emotions replace logic. This leads to irrational arguments, which cause the opposition to become more entrenched in their defensive position. It is a viciously fickle cycle. COMMON SENSE would argue that this is unsustainable. But I, Ben Franklin, may have the key to solving this problem. It’s called moderation!

Moderation, my friends, is the prescription to all remedies – be it alcohol, vice, religion, etc. It is the outcome of almost every policy initiative in the history of legislation. Firebrands on both sides of the political spectrum push for radicalized policies through their Bills. However, Bills become Laws by moving through a congressional filtration process, which always includes those who are fundamentally opposed to the bill. This is when “politicking” begins and the resulting Law is shaped into a faint shadow of the initial Bill. Therefore, COMMON SENSE would argue that the “politicking” process would theoretically be smoother if it were only pushing moderate policy bills. This is because the moderate bills would promote Compromise.

Now I understand that this word, “compromise”, is a dirty word for any stalwart for it requires one to forfeit some of their principles in the process. But COMMON SENSE tells us that people sacrifice their principles very quickly when the alternative is to sacrifice their self-interest. Pessimists argue that compromise fundamentally results with all negotiating parties leaving angry. This is a benefit! After all, COMMON SENSE argues that it is better to have the people unified in bitterness than to have one side feeling cheated and oppressed (… besides, if everyone is angry, has much changed?).

Furthermore, our country is founded on compromise. I had to console Thomas Jefferson, during the editing process of the Declaration of Independence, because he was horrified at the eighty individual edits to it! The Constitutional Convention was only successful because of multiple compromises (some of which were an unfortunate stain to the country’s legacy…) I shall paraphrase what I said at the end of that convention: we have a country of diverse peoples with various backgrounds and oft-competing interests meaning that compromise is the only way to succeed. COMMON SENSE therefore suggests that we begin our policy-shaping process with moderation and compromise.

If I am promoting a movement towards consistent, compromising creation of policies, I must establish a platform based off of rational, logical COMMON SENSE. This platform, therefore, implies that I am in need of a political party to promote this platform. Since the platform is a moderate platform – which attempts to compromise and unite the policy initiatives of both Democrats and Republicans – then COMMON SENSE necessitates the party to be the “DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS”. It is a tribute to one of the original political parties, and also happens to be the party I was most affiliated with (so… COMMON SENSE). Our party mascot will be the EAGLE, because it is in the best interest for the country. I would have liked it to be the Wild Turkey, but I shall sacrifice my principles for the greater good (do you see how it works?!). I shall, of course, be the leader, and another Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, will be the Vice-Presidential nominee. Our policy initiatives will be laid out throughout the following months based on COMMON SENSE and logic, over emotion.

DISCLAIMER: To those of you in my SMALL circle of readers who would assume that these policy proposals presented presently (Huzzah! for alliterations!) reflect my principles wholly, I warn you to BE WARY. For it is my expectation that these policies will be manipulated and shaped through any political process which may be expected to scrutinize it. Therefore I challenge you to take no offense to any policies, for they are simply musings of a rationalist and a skeptic who has observed the history of human nature.

My intentions for these proposals are to provide entertaining thought-nuggets based on my limited, though highly heralded, skill in logic. I do not gauge success for my venture from the increase in followers, but rather, through the quality of productive discourse produced. My multiple roles in founding this country have always been in the form of educating through anecdotes and abstract thought. I challenge you to find weakness in my theories, for they are merely formulaic equations of political philosophy. Human nature is, of course, the most important variable in any political equation; but it is also the most inconsistent. I will be satisfied if you find mild entertainment but substantial self-reflection in order to shape your own beliefs in how our social contract should operate. After you have taken time to consider and reflect on the theories, then you can decide which platform you will align yourself to.

Regardless of anything else, consider this: I am a WALKING SATIRE. I cannot run for president because I have been dead for 236 years. COMMON SENSE should tell you, therefore, not to take too many things seriously.

To say that I am astounded at my new and strange surroundings is the understatement of the last three centuries. On average, once per hour I must remind myself to breathe as I am introduced to some new technological revelation.

Essay on Common Sense

Politics

LadiesMan

Dearest Lovers and Haters… of American Politics,

I would like to re-introduce myself. My name is Benjamin Franklin. I am writing you at the age of 310 years old, though my current version is my 28-year old form: tall, athletic, and with a full head of hair, though the hair is glows with a deep, rich red (beggars cannot be choosers…). You may have many questions such as:

  1. “How did you get here?”
  2. “Why do you look so different from your pictures?”
  3. “Which do you prefer more: being bald or being a ginger?”

Unfortunately, you must wait a little longer for answers to those questions and more. You see I have a lot to say and I have a VERY short attention span… and I’m extremely caffeinated (#dunkindonuts). I must stay focused on my task at hand because “he that pursues two hares at once, does not catch one and lets the other go,” I am already getting off topic…. Damn!

My specific task is to introduce to you the fundamental principle that is missing from the current American landscape, COMMON SENSE. The land is scourged with scathing verbal assaults between its inhabitants. We have allowed our emotions to rise to an unsustainable vitriol (#vocabulary), which leads to defensive posturing for poor ideas. You see, “a man in passion rides a mad horse,” and a mad horse causes collateral damage. We blame and fear-monger causing further hate and distrust. We break down but don’t rebuild. We argue for policies in defense of our own acknowledged biases and self-interest, but care little of the impact on others. We argue for policies due to fear of minorities and immigrants, but we like to preach a folksy legacy of our country, incorporates the phrases “inclusion” and “liberty”. We do little to combat poverty, but are disgusted with those who suffer from it. We have lost our minds! We have lost COMMON SENSE! I am sure that I have not been the only one to express this sentiment, but it resonates more when I say this, because I am Ben Franklin… and I am amazing.

You must understand, COMMON SENSE, also known as “logic”, is an essential tool for every calculated move in a person’s life. It is separate from intelligence because one can know a lot of facts but still act foolishly and “a learned fool is a greater fool than an ignorant one,” Consider COMMON SENSE to be wisdom. It focuses solely on applying several facts together in order to surmise a logical conclusion. Consider it equivalent to an algebraic equation. For example:

Equation

  1. x + y = 10
  2. x = 7
  3. Therefore, y = 3

Logic

  1. Government policies against homosexuals are based on the grounds of religious text
  2. The Constitution separates religion from government
  3. Government policies against homosexuals are not supported by the Constitution

COMMON SENSE is what the entire Enlightenment movement was based upon; it placed reason and rational thought in contrast with blind worship. COMMON SENSE is what we, the people, used to succeed in the American Revolution. COMMON SENSE defended our rebellion because it was not logical for an island to control a continent. COMMON SENSE reasoned that we should continue fighting in the face of initial defeats because the British would eventually grow tired of traveling 3,000 miles to fight to suppress us. And COMMON SENSE logically identified the perfect positioning between the British and French for an ideal peace treaty.

And no, I am not the writer of the famous pamphlet, COMMON SENSE, either. That can be attributed to one, Thomas Paine. However, I was his mentor and I assisted him in his famed publication. I was one of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment, so consider me an expert on COMMON SENSE. It will be an over-arching theme in much of my writing and so you must be prepared for this. My goal is for you to feel more Enlightened at the conclusion of these writings than you were previously. Cheers and Good Fortune!

Your Best Friend,

Ben Franklin